Thursday, April 21, 2011

Molly's Bee Charmer Dress

One of the many things Joni and I have in common is an obsession for matching the perfect fabric to the perfect pattern. Sometimes the pattern comes first, but more often it's the fabric that grabs hold and demands to be sewn. That's how it was with this Fabric Finders pique featuring an adorable design of bees and yellow pindots on a white background:

Pique (pee-kay) refers to a weaving style characterized by raised parallel cords or fine ribbing. Cotton pique is a favorite of heirloom sewists because it gathers and pleats beautifully and the surface texture creates visual interest.

For Molly's Bee Charmer Dress, I paired the must-sew fabric with the Empire Waist Dress Pattern by Med Welch, who also must have a thing about bees. (She is the sweetest woman in the world, by the way. Her patterns are not for the faint of heart, as they're not illustrated, but they sew up beautifully!)

Molly's Bee Charmer Dress has a full skirt gathered to a gracefully-shaped empire waist trimmed with hand-made pima gingham mini-piping. Solid white Swiss pique collar is piped to match, and the square corners turned out perfectly if I do say so myself:

The short sleeves and skirt are trimmed above the hemline with bias bands of black-and-white gingham secured with edgestitching:

Completing the ensemble are a black-and-white Gingham Beret topped with a jaunty fabric-covered button; a pair of Taffeta Hair Ribbons to tie at the ends of Molly's braids; and a Honeybee Pendant with Swarovski crystal eyes strung on a silvertone chain.

The Bee Charmer ensemble is currently listed on eBay for Kindred Thread Modiste. Click here to visit the auction. Bidding ends Saturday, April 23 at 8 PM EDT.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Addy's Civil War Silk Ballgown

As a seamstress, you never know when inspiration will strike, but it's a good bet it will happen at the fabric store! I was at JoAnn's a month or two ago, shopping for something innocent like solid colored Kona, but I kept looking at this roll of fabric that was sitting on the cutting counter waiting to be put away. After unsuccessfully trying to convince myself not to, I asked the lady behind the cutting counter if I could see it. The fabric in question was a home dec. silk in the most beautiful shade of yellowy green I'd ever seen. And it was also (I believe this was a sign from the Fabric Gods) ON CLEARANCE. So I had her cut me off a length, even though I don't know the first thing about sewing with silk. All the way home I kept opening the bag to see the way that gorgeous material shimmered in the light.

It didn't take me long to figure out that the silk in question wanted to become a gown for Addy, trimmed with some chocolate brown velvet ribbon from my stash. I've seen Addys dressed in yellow and cream and other shades that flattered her skin tone and I knew that this shade of green would do the same. Only one problem: I had plenty of lovely dolls in my basement, but NO ADDY.

So I, um, bought one.

Once my secondhand Addy was here, I set about trying to translate vision into reality. I was looking at the Past Patterns website for inspiration - they have yummy people sized patterns for many historical periods - and I saw this bodice, which was exactly what I had in mind.
Now, the thing about me is that I can't draft a pattern completely from scratch - that is one of many skills that eludes me - but I can adapt pattern pieces all the livelong day. I own basically every doll dress pattern known to man, so I had plenty of customization fodder available. I thought about this dress day and night until I had a working plan.

The bodice was the most important part. I started with a Civil War pattern that I had already modified to have a dropped shoulder seam (very important to the 1860s look!) and scooped out the neckline so that it sat just off the doll's shoulders. I copied the point at the waistline off of a Colonial era pattern and then sewed a mockup of the bodice lining. Once I had a working pattern for the lining I just drew in the curved bodice seams, added seam allowances, and voila.

The double puffed sleeves (seen on the lady on the right in the Past Patterns illustration) were a bit of a thinker. I'd never made sleeves like those before but I made myself a bubble skirt one time and I was gambling that the construction operated on the same principle. My nefarious plan involved snagging a cap style sleeve from a Civil War pattern + a voluminous puffy sleeve from an Edwardian pattern and somehow combining them. And it was a lot of gathering, but it actually worked on the first try. And I love how it looks in silk.
lgs preview

When it came to the skirt, I had to use my imagination, since my inspiration pattern didn't show a skirt. My first thought was to do a ruched overskirt, but I didn't have enough fabric or the patience for another fabric store trip with kids in tow. So I Google image searched 'Civil War ball gown' and saw several examples where lace or other trim was sewn directly onto the skirt in a scalloped design. So I raided my stash of trims for some netting lace and chocolate nrown soutache braid.
You'll notice that the skirt is pleated rather than gathered at the waistline. I had already had my fill of gathering with those double puffed sleeves. (And I couldn't even do my usual heavy-duty-thread-in-the-bobbin trick because hello, IT'S SILK.) But I love how the pleats turned out. All they took was a whoooooole lot of pins and some patience.

There's a bit more to the story, like making the wee little gloves, and deciding at the last minute to make a fichu, and pressing tiny hems onto the edges of Addy's hair ribbon with the iron because I still don't know how to use my rolled hem foot, but I think I will just let the final product speak for itself. Meg Photoshopped Addy in all her silken glory into a ballroom background. I'm sure there's not a person alive who hasn't seen this photo yet, but let's just look at it again:
Lemongrass gallery

Sigh. Oh, Addy.

My green silk creation is up for auction on eBay - the auction ends today, so don't miss your opportunity to bid on this one-of-a-kind creation. Click Here to visit the auction!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Go Dawgs!

Today only: 5% off your Limited Edition purchase to celebrate Butler's return to the NCAA Championship Game! Enter code GODAWGS in the comment box at check-out and we will refund 5% of your purchase price for all Limited Edition items.

Friday, April 1, 2011

No fooling!

Wow, the past month has just flown by! We can't believe it's been a full 31 days since the official launch of Kindred Thread. March has been a busy month of sales, auctions, March Madness, talking about fabric, figuring out strategies, basketball games, phone conversations and emails between Meg and me, and Butler in the Final Four again. ;-) We have been so thrilled by the customer response that our first month in business has gotten us, and believe me, that's the best motivation to go to the sewing room and get to work!

So we have, I think, some extra special things to bring you for the month of April. Meg and I were both on a strawberry fabric kick this month for some reason, so here are the "fruits" of our labors, ha ha.

Kindred Thread - Limited Edition

shrinking violet

Shrinking Violet Spring Coat and Hat with Sunday Best Dress

by Joni Lynn
for Kindred Thread Limited Edition

Molly will look proper for Easter Sunday or any special occasion. Limited edition: only 2 sets available.

strawberry girl

Strawberry Girl Blouse and Gingham Overalls

by Nora's Room
for Kindred Thread Limited Edition

"Oh, here's the Strawberry Girl!" - Lois Lenski. Limited Edition: only 6 available.

cherry berry




Cherry Berry Dress

by Joni Lynn
for Kindred Thread Limited Edition

As delicious as jam on toast. Limited edition - only 6 available.

lemonade stand gallery



Lemonade Stand Dress

by Nora's Room

Get your ice cold lemonade!  Limited Edition: only 5 available.

sugar shirtdress gallery


Sweeter than Sugar Vintage Inspired Shirtdress and Headband

by Joni Lynn

It doesn't get much cuter than this! Limited edition - only two available in each colorway.

We have also added a couple of things to the Foundations line. Meg had some fun with corset boning and I raided my massive pile of scraps.

corset and pantalets gallery


Good Sense Corset Waist and Lace-Trimmed Pantalets

by Nora's Room
for Kindred Thread Foundations

"If you want a girl to grow up gentle and womanly in her ways and feelings, lace her tight."

Pretty Print Panties

Pretty Print Panties

by Joni Lynn
for Kindred Thread Foundations

"Waste not, want not!" as Aunt Millie would say.

Stay tuned for a blog post about our Modiste creations! I'm probably going to say this every time, but I think we have really outdone ourselves this month!